Matthew Mensah: The City I’m In
Matthew Mensah, who recently won the South African GQ Best Dressed Man of 2017 Award, is a Ghanian-Danish humanitarian who lived in Lagos for 10 years. As the CEO of Health PR and a philanthropist, Mensah is always killing it on his Instagram page in his fancy suits for the work he does in Johannesburg, South Africa. And of course, he hits the gym in his spare time! Mensah gives us the lowdown on some great spots and people in Joburg.
Now, Johannesburg but originally Ghana and Denmark but, because I grew up almost 10 years in Lagos, I have to mention Nigeria, the country that guided me from a silly boy to a serious man. After Joburg, I could move back home (Ghana) to support in improving my country.
What projects are you working on?
Stop women abuse campaign and stop child trafficking with the SA Government and prior to that, the xenophobia campaign, as well as some social development projects involving infrastructure.
What advice would you give to a tourist?
Try to experience as much as possible; that includes local population. Visit Soweto, Maboneng, and Braamfontein. South Africans are fantastic, warm and fun-loving people.
Why are you here?
I used to live in Lagos prior to that but I was tired of the stress and lack of quality of life. And because my passion for humanitarian work was much more appreciated here in SA where the government is very supportive of social development projects. My agency does many of the campaigns and has received awards from the government for it, which is the biggest honour you can get, to be acknowledged as a foreigner for the work you are doing for others.
What do you like about Johannesburg?
The diversity and the quality of life because it’s like being in some places in Europe but in Africa. It really is a world-class African city.
What do you dislike about Johannesburg?
The crime factor and the lack of drive in the atmosphere, which we have in Lagos. People like enjoyment for no reason here. Compared to West Africa people are a bit lazy here, especially the youth. They like things but don’t want to put the hours in to get it.
Marble in Rosebank, a 5-star restaurant with an atmosphere that is second to none. The goal of a top class restaurant is to make you feel you are in a different world entirely for a short period of time. Marble does that.
Who is in your local squad?
My local squad in Joburg would be the likes of Dj Sbu, Ndaba Mandela, David Tlale, Alex Okosi, Zakes Bantwini.
What shoes are you wearing today and why?
I’m wearing some of my favourite shoes. Black Gucci lace-ups, which are for special occasions like this event with the First Lady Bongi Ngema Zuma for diabetes awareness.
Where’s the party at?
Two of my friends Chris and Stephane own the best clubs in SA, Taboo and Harem respectively, so if I go out I would go to one of their places.
What do you do for exercise around here?
Gym, spinning especially and one of the great things about Joburg is the fantastic parks you can go to for long, beautiful walks.
How do you wind down?
Good dinners, reading, working on new concepts, spending time with my girls at my female orphanage for young girls or just chilling at home (I’m an introvert). I watch a lot of news so I can check what’s happening.
Who will you call if you get into trouble?
My boys, Lolu Sodiende, Bolaji Folawiyo, Owen Asien, Tola Odunsi, The Okoye brothers, Chini Odogwu, Noble Igwe, Duke Essiam, Jim Iyke and a few Ministers if that wasn’t enough.
What do you miss the most about Lagos?
I miss my homies, some of the people I grew up with in Lagos are like my brothers and sisters, some I’m closer to than some of my family members, like Lolu Soidende and Linda Ikeji.